Court-appointed lawyers in Maine will have to wait for payment because of budget shortfall

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Court-appointed lawyers for indigent defendants in Maine won’t get paid until July 1 because the state budget to pay them has been depleted.

The state legislature had appropriated $2.9 million less than the amount requested for indigent defense, then did not provide supplemental funding, the Portland Press Herald reports.

Maine relies on private attorneys rather than public defenders to represent poor defendants. They are paid $60 an hour.

John Pelletier, the executive director of the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services, told the Press Herald that the shortfall is unfortunate. “But from the long perspective, it’s not the first time lawyers doing this work have had to wait more than 60 days to get their bills paid,” he said.

Lawyers submit their bills to the commission through an electronic system. Before the commission was created in 2010, lawyers had to wait longer for payment, Pelletier said.




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